United States government shutdown looms amid immigration battle

Trump hoping to keep Pennsylvania seat in Republican hands

But there are perils. Republican leaders say that should be dealt with separately, noting that the government's authority to spend expires Friday while DACA remains in effect until early March, allowing for more time to take up that issue. "So there's very, very strong support not to go along with their deal".

House GOP leaders, seeking to lock down support among conservatives for the stopgap funding measure, are looking to sweeten it with a plan to delay implementation of unpopular taxes on medical devices and generous employer-subsidized health care taxes, according to GOP aides. And the White House director of legislative affairs, Marc Short, told reporters there was "no artificial timeline" for a deal on so-called Dreamers and that it would be "herculean" to get it done by this week.

In a special U.S. Senate election in Alabama late past year, the president first backed the incumbent candidate in the Republican primary, Luther Strange, who had been named temporarily to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when Trump named him U.S. attorney general.

The Republican president rejected a bipartisan agreement reached by a group of senators. Republicans don't want to deal with Democrats on this. Trump has denied using that word.

For example, it is becoming tiresome that Republicans, as a party, are being taken to task every time the president utters an expletive (most recently related to US immigration policy) or fires off a tweet that rankles liberals.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) emerged from a meeting with Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) on Wednesday night saying House Republicans don't yet have the votes to pass another short-term spending fix, called a continuing resolution (CR).

To flip that script, Lamb must "run a ideal campaign", said Mike Mikus, a Democratic campaign strategist who has run congressional races in the Pittsburgh area.

The meeting was to consider a bipartisan immigration deal to protect the "dreamers" - young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children, including the 690,000 now enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Trump has canceled.

"There's four of 'em", Graham told reporters.

Democrats allege Republicans will be responsible if the government shuts down, arguing they have been given ample time to come to a consensus on key issues and they don't want to continue to "kick the can down the road".

There is no reason for a Republican - be it USA senators Ted Cruz or John Cornyn of Texas - to have to answer for a remark made by the president.

Analyst Ed Mills at financial firm Raymond James said another short-term extension is expected.

What happens in a government shutdown?

"Should a shutdown occur, we do not expect much of a market reaction", Mills noted. Democrats said they're still unlikely to support the measure without an agreement on immigration.

Meanwhile, there are increasingly urgent deadlines for disaster aid and renewal of the popular Children's Health Insurance Program.

Here's the reality: If you don't give House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, this short-term spending bill, he's going to have to negotiate with Democrats (or the Senate has to go first on this, which creates a whole new set of messes).

Talks also continued on related issues, including how to fund a children's healthcare programme and to establish higher spending caps for the US military and other domestic programs.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said he was more focussed on producing a bill that Trump would not veto.

Durbin intends to introduce the bipartisan agreement as legislation on Wednesday, spokesman Ben Marter said.

Trump said in September he was terminating the DACA programme, launched by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, effective in March.

Senate Democratic leaders are insisting that the stop-gap measure include deportation protections for the young undocumented immigrants, and the potential loss of their votes over the lack of that provision threatens to spark a shutdown.

Democrats have said they see Friday as the deadline to proceed with an immigration deal and the other policy measures which they have described as one package of demands.

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